Property Weekly Q&A: A perfect 10

PWThe units have floor-to-ceiling windows, with high ceilings and wood flooring l David Godchaux (left) is CEO and Edward Macura is Managing Director— Residential at Core, UAE Associate of Savills l Image Credit: Supplied

Nestled in the heart of Dubai’s prestigious Jumeirah 1 district, No 10 City Walk is seeing strong end-user demand from Emiratis and committed expats ahead of its completion in the second quarter. The building is part of a low- and mid-rise residential development by Meraas and offers buyers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to call one of the emirate’s most exclusive addresses home.

Designed by Woods Baggot and with interiors by LW Design, Number 10 comprises 81 apartments. Core, the UAE Associate of Savills, the agency handling the building, says some highlights of the one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments (with maid’s quarters) are hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, integrated European appliances, contemporary spa baths, spacious open plan layouts and balconies in each unit. PW spoke to David Godchaux, CEO, and Edward Macura, Managing Director — Residential, at Core — UAE Associate of Savills, on how Dubai’s new community is getting incredibly popular.

What is the biggest selling point for Number 10 City Walk?
David Godchaux (DG): The demand for City Walk is very high and that is because it offers something completely different in Dubai, away from the high-rises, a more human scale, liveable development, with street retail, which is very rare in the emirate. It’s more of an urban lifestyle, perfectly suited to executives — it’s 10 minutes away from work and 10 minutes to the beach. You don’t have to wait 20 or 30 minutes to go out of your neighbourhood. That quality of life doesn’t exist anywhere else in Dubai. People working here want to have the Jumeirah lifestyle with the proximity to beach and Downtown.

Plus, ours is likely to be among the first residential launches for the Citywalk development. Buildings in the Citywalk residential development were sold to different investors. As the development comes close to completion, the investors will decide whether to sell them or offer these for lease.

How is this property going to change the face of freehold in Dubai?

Edward Macura (EM): The fact that it’s freehold in Jumeirah is a first. Strata, of course, is the next big thing. The development as a whole is crucial — it’s the first time that low- or medium-density residential spaces are being offered in such a central location in Dubai.

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Originally, Jumeirah only had villas. Other than Sunset Mall there are no apartment developments in Jumeirah. Now, not only do you have a chance to purchase a property, but you can do it in a strata building and purchase an apartment instead of a large villa.

These are low-rise buildings; they range from G+4 to G+5 and G+6. Having seen what Meraas has done with The Beach and with the Box Park, the retail strategy is strong. It’ll be exciting to see what they will bring to the retail component of the development.

It’s in the heart of the city. It is the place where most expats and Emiratis want to be and it goes past the barrier of rent or purchase. Freehold and strata give people the opportunity of coming in for one-bedroom or two-bedroom freehold and the larger ones.

DG: It’s freehold in the middle of a very, very prime neighbourhood. Earlier it was not possible for foreigners to even own a villa because it was not freehold. Number two, apartments were not available even for locals to buy. To own an apartment you have to have strata. Even if you built some residential towers, you would not have been able to sell them at unit values. Essentially, before this it was not possible to buy an apartment in Jumeirah, whether you were local or an expat.

This one is so unique that the approach we have used for project marketing is saying that it is the first freehold project in Jumeirah and just that statement is attracting a lot people. This is not to say that the floor plan or the master plan is not worth talking about — they are really top class.

When are you likely to open sales and when is the handover?

DG: The completion is set for between April and June this year. And we have just started selling.

How does the wider canal project impact the Citywalk residential projects?

DG: It very certainly has an impact, even if it’s not immediate. This is the first strata ownership freehold project in Jumeriah; the canal will have many more. With the canal, there is massive freehold still to be developed. This drives credibility for the area for investors.

If you wait a few years, once the canal is completed, you can enter at a higher price. Jumeirah is always going to be prime. Currently, it’s at a price reflecting today’s market. The main advantage is that Citywalk is available now at a very reasonable price for prime locations.

How has the current slowdown in property market impacted your pricing strategy? What is the price that investors can benchmark it against comparatively speaking from other areas in Dubai?

DG: We feel the slowdown in the property market has impacted secondary and tertiary areas. The impact on prime locations has been less. Investors or owners of prime properties are typically deep-pocket investors with a long-term vision. So there is less impact. This project is particularly prestigious due to the very unique location and it being the first such project in Jumeirah.

Having said that, in order to come to the market competitively we decided to factor some small price softening to make sure that it is competitively priced for investors.

The benchmark for prices would be prices in Downtown Dubai. We have made an effort to bring it at a competitive level, for its prime location and quality of construction. We’ve seen very strong appetite so far, despite the slowdown.

How does the building fit into the general scheme of things at Citywalk? Can you share an overview?

EM: If you look at the master plan, you’re looking at about 35 residential buildings, of which 20 buildings are part of this first phase. And then you go into leisure, entertainment and retail. These are mixed-use buildings so the ground floor is retail. You have cafés, restaurants and boutiques at the bottom of the residential and then you have main shopping towards Al Wasl road, which will have a cinema, the largest Kidzania, a hotel and a boutique hotel in that section.

How will the living experience be for the end user?

EM: You have got floor-to-ceiling windows, with high ceilings and wood flooring throughout the apartment. The detail is very different. They have gone the extra step with recess lighting and open plan living. Even the floor plans show that we’re targeting the end users here with the one-bedroom apartments ranging from 1,000-1,200 sq ft.

All two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments and four-bedroom duplexes come with a maid’s room, which again had not been available in this central location for freehold property. Earlier, in many buildings, maid’s rooms did not have windows. With new municipality rules, you now have to have natural light coming in, plus there is a separate entrance into the apartment so it’s almost like a mini-studio.

These bring the two- and three-bedroom apartments up to roughly about 1,500-1,800 sq ft. The three-bedroom apartments are 2,200-2,800 sq ft and you’re crossing 3,000-5,000 sq ft for the four-bedroom apartments and four-bedroom duplexes.

How does the location impact the quality of life?

EM: You’re a stroll away from facilities. It is a good 10-minute walk to the Dubai Mall Metro and then across into the walkway. You’re a 15-minute walk from the new canal and probably another 10 minute walk to the beach. It is a central location. Then you have DIFC and hotels off Shaikh Zayed Road and Downtown.

Are you seeing significant interest in the preregistration? When you finally come into the market, do you expect any apartments to be still available?

DG: We’ve had several hundreds of registrations already. We do anticipate many units to be sold by the time we launch.

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Who are you seeing a lot of interest from?

EM: We’re seeing interest from people who have heard about and approached us. It’s often the younger generation who like Jumeirah, but who don’t want to go into one of these big villas that their parents are in. They are looking at this as an alternative. So you get a chance of urban living, and the lifestyle without a large yard or the maintenance issues that go with it. 

Also, I don’t think you get so many large two- and three-bedders at this range. In most high-rises, three-bedders are limited to the top part of the tower and they are 15-20 per cent smaller.

Source: Shalini Seth, Special to Property WeeklyPW


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